Parish marks martyrdom of ‘voice for the voiceless’

Published May 1, 2006

Tears were shed, applause was heard and songs were sung to honour the “voice of the voiceless” among the Latino community in Toronto. On March 26 at San Lorenzo Anglican Church, hundreds gathered in celebration to commemorate the martyrdom of El Salvador’s Roman Catholic archbishop, Oscar Arnulfo Romero. “Today is a special day because we are celebrating the resurrection of Monsignor Romero,” said congregation member Jose Rubens. “Monsignor Romero was not only loved and supported by people from the Catholic faith but he was loved and embraced by people from many denominations. He was truly a man of God.” Known as the “voice for the voiceless” in El Salvador’s poorest communities, Archbishop Romero was born in Cuidad Barios. He was ordained a priest at Gregorian University in Rome in 1942 and in 1977 he was chosen as archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital. Corruption, greed and poverty plagued El Salvador for centuries. When religious leaders spoke out against the government, execution became common practice; Archbishop Romero was shot to death on March 24, 1980, as he was saying mass. There have only been two priests in history assassinated while at the altar. Thomas a Becket of Canterbury was the first, during the 12th century. San Lorenzo was not only filled with patrons from El Salvador, but from many other Central and South American communities. Donny Ramirez, 28, a member of the Latino rap group Extreme Locos for Christ (XLC), said he believes that Archbishop Romero could also be a role model among today’s youth. “This is an opportunity for us to come to together to share in each other’s culture. We are also here to learn more about Monsignor Romero. Anyone who sets an example is someone to be admired, especially among young people,” said Mr. Ramirez, who is of Ecuadorian background. Rev. Hernan Astudillo, pastor of San Lorenzo, has for years followed the teachings and philosophies of Archbishop Romero.”We are here to commemorate the assassination of Bishop Oscar Romero. We are happy to be here and we believe that he never died.  He will always be with us,” said Mr. Astudillo. Emalyn Franco-Romano is a writer in Brampton, Ont.


Keep on reading

Skip to content